LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A recommended $26.054 billion budget for 2014-15, that Chief Executive Officer William T. Fujioka said would provide a “strong foundation” for the county as it emerges from recession, was tentatively approved Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
The recommended, fully balanced budget not only steers clear of layoffs and furloughs while adding 1,345 positions, which include workers for public safety and child social workers. The public safety workers are expected to help the county implement recommendations for the reduction of violence in the county’s jails.
“This was a very difficult budget to put together,” Fujioka told the supervisors.
Recession budgets are “relatively easy” Fujioka further explained, “because you can just say, ‘No, we have no money’,” while a budget with a larger surplus is “very easy”.
“Post-recession budgets are very difficult, because the key issue is sustainability,” Fujioka said, noting further that $6.5 billion of the budget depends on state and federal funding. “Any hiccups in that could be very, very devastating for us.”
A 0.2 percent reduction from the 2013-14 county budget, which totaled at $26.099 billion, is represented in the plan.
In Fujioka’s budget memo to the Board of Supervisors, he attributed the county’s financial status to “long-standing conservative budget practices and our strong compliance to fiscal policies.”
Fujioka also took note that, while many costs are increasing, the county is also anticipating an increase in revenue from property, as well as from sales taxes, in part from reassessments of homes that had declined in value during the recession.
“The budget will provide a strong foundation as we move forward into better times,” Fujioka said on Tuesday.
May 14 will mark the beginning of a series of public hearings on the budget, with the supervisors being scheduled to vote June 23 on the final budget.
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